MINSK, September 12. /TASS/. Russia supports Belarus’ intention to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Russian Ambassador to Belarus Boris Gryzlov told TASS on Monday.
"Naturally, Russia completely supports Belarus’ intention to be part of the tightly-knit family of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which has for years been actively working in the interests of peace, security and stability in the region, promoting economic development and building a democratic and fair world order," he said, adding that he is convinced that Minsk will make its contribution to the efforts towards achieving the SCO goals.
"Membership in the SCO will give our closes ally [Belarus] a number of undoubted extra possibilities, which are especially important in the current situation," Gryzlov noted. Such possibilities, in his words, include a full-format access to programs and projects in the spheres of economy, finance, trade, logistics, etc. "Big prospects for cooperation will be opened in the areas of security and fight against crime, infrastructure development, environment protection and in many other areas of regional cooperation," he said.
According to the Russian ambassador, Belarus’ accession to the SCO will promote further consolidation of the Euro-Asian region as a new pole of power. "Russia and Belarus have a vast experience of constructive and fruitful cooperation within the Union State. The republic is our reliable partner within integration associations, such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Bearing this in mind, Belarus’ accession to the SCO will promote further consolidation of the Euro-Asian region as a new pole of power," he said.
He recalled that following a meeting of the SCO foreign ministers in Tashkent in July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had said that there was a broad consensus about beginning the process of Minsk’s admission to the organization at the upcoming SCO summit in Samarkand in September.
Established in 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization now includes India, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia are observer countries, and Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka enjoy the partner status.
It is expected that the Samarkand summit in mid-September will complete the procedure of admitting Iran to the organization and will grant the partner status to Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The organization is also considering Belarus’ application for a full-fledged membership.